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Semana Santa: Easter in Guatemala

10 Days, Antigua to Antigua
Semana Santa: Easter in Guatemala

All Departures 100% Guaranteed | If you're booked, you're going.

Experience Semana Santa (holy week), one of the most vibrant celebrations in Central America, on this remarkable 10-day adventure based in Antigua, Guatemala. Line the pa read more...

What's Included
  • Overseas Medical Insurance for the duration of the tour (Sum of US$ 2,50,000 covered).
  • 09 nights accommodation (Hotels (09 nts)).
  • 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch.
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  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities (Private bus/van, plane, boat, walking).
  • Arrival transfer.
  • Observing Good Friday processions.
  • Cultural walking tour of Antigua.
  • Chichicastenango "Beyond the Market" tour.
  • Boat ride around Lake Atitlan.
  • Visit to San Juan la Laguna community including a local lunch and a tree-planting ceremony.
  • Participate in building an elaborate traditional carpet of flowers on the streets of Antigua.
  • Services of Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout the tour, local guides.
  • Interesting articles, helpful tips, and photography advice from National Geographic before you depart
VERY IMPORTANT
Please ensure that you print a final copy of your trip details provided by Cox & Kings as pdf format.
Important Notes
We recommend you to have a meal budget of USD 360-470 for food and drinks which are not included in the programme.
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Itinerary
Day 1 Guatemala City/Antigua
Day 2 Antigua/Jaibalito
Day 3 Jaibalito
Day 4 Jaibalito
Day 5 Jaibalito/Antigua
Day 6 Antigua
Day 7 Antigua
Day 8 Antigua
Day 9 Antigua
Day 10 Depart Antigua
Departures
  • Start
  • Finish
TRIP SPECIFIC SAFETY

Cox & Kings takes all reasonable measures to ensure your safety and enjoyment while travelling with us. The aim of this document is to give you an insight into ways you may further enhance your own personal safety while abroad.

Places Visited
  • Antigua
  • Jaibalito
  • DAY 1 Guatemala City/Antigua

    Arrive at the Guatemala City airport. Transfer to hotel in Antigua is included.

    Arrive at the Guatemala City airport and transfer to your hotel in Antigua. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and enjoy this charming city.

    Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
    1h
    The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore, but make sure you're back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your
    CEO will review the details of your tour.

    Private Vehicle
    Guatemala City - Antigua 1h
    Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride. (None (Meals on your own))

  • DAY 2 Antigua/Jaibalito

    Travel to Lake Atitlan and catch a boat to the small town of Jaibalito, the base for the next three nights. From here, explore indigenous villages on the lake as they prepare for the Holy Week processions.

    Jaibalito is a small village on the shore of Lake Atitlan, known for its tranquility. It is accessible only by boat and foot trail and offers stunning views of the three volcanoes and lake. The area is also ideal for outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, windsurfing, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, and horseback riding.

    Private Vehicle
    Antigua - Panajachel 4h80km
    Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride.

    Boat
    Panajachel - Jaibalito 30m
    Climb aboard and get your float on. (Breakfast)

  • DAY 3 Jaibalito

    Explore indigenous villages on the lake as they prepare for the Holy Week processions. Also visit San Juan la Laguna, a G Adventures-supported village. Take an orientation walk, visit various co-ops, enjoy a local Mayan lunch and a Mayan tree-planting ceremony. Take some free time to enjoy the lake.

    Volcanoes and small indigenous villages surround this pristine lake, truly one of the most beautiful spots in Central America. Twelve traditional Maya villages, blue-grey mountains and three volcanoes line the shores of this lake resulting in a wonderful combination of unusual natural beauty and indigenous culture. Visit some of the villages of Lake Atitlan on an included boat tour. The towns will be be abuzz preparing for Holy Week processionals and activities, so our timing is just right to get a sense of the colour, costumes, and age-old customs that surround this holiday time.

    Lake Atitlan Indigenous Villages Visit
    Lago de Atitlan
    Set off in a motorized launch and get ready to sit back and be amazed. Lake Atitlan, with its three volcanoes, rolling hills and small villages dotting the shorelines, is one of the most photogenic places in Central America. Stop at local villages, meet indigenous Kakchiquel and Tzutuhil Maya, admire the colourful huipiles (hand-woven blouses) and head-scarfs worn by the women, and take fantastic photos of the Semana Santa (Holy Week) preparations.

    Boat
    Jaibalito
    Climb aboard and get your float on.

    Lake Atitlan Boat Ride and Community Visit
    Lago de Atitlan
    Get ready for spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes and everyday life in a highland village. The people of this area are friendly and excited to greet travellers. Stop off in San Juan la Laguna, a G Adventures-supported village, for an included local Mayan lunch. Participate in a Mayan tree planting ceremony, providing insight into Mayan culture and beliefs. Test your communication and bargaining skills in the colourful local markets, of which there are many. There are also a number of community Mayan weaving cooperatives that you may wish to visit. The proceeds from the sales return directly to the community and are a significant contribution to the local economy.

    Free Time
    Jaibalito
    Free time for outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, windsurfing, hiking, bird watching, and kayaking.

    Optional Activities
    Fishing

    Lago de Atitlan
    Channel your inner Mayan, hop aboard a rustic wooden cayuco, paddle out into Lake Atitlan, and pray for fish. With only a small hook, net, and no motor, your local guide will demonstrate his traditional fishing techniques. You may even catch a black bass!

    Kayaking
    40NZD per person
    Grab your life jacket and tour local waters by kayak. Get up close to marine life and see many sights you may miss on shore. (Breakfast,Lunch)

  • DAY 4 Jaibalito

    In the morning visit the famed market of Chichicastenango. With a local expert, explore beyond the market and gain a deeper understanding of the culture and faith of the locals. Included are visits to Santo Tomas Church, the cemetery, and Cerro Turcaj pilgrimage and offering site.

    A trip to Guatemala would not be complete without a visit to the famous market of Chichicastenango. Renowned for its colourful handicrafts, wood carvings, and hand-woven textiles, "Chichi" is also an important trading place for the local residents, and provides close-up views of daily life of today's Maya.

    Boat
    Jaibalito - Panajachel30m
    Climb aboard and get your float on.

    Private Vehicle
    Panajachel 1h-1h30m
    Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

    Chichicastenango - Beyond the Market
    Jaibalito
    With an expert local guide, explore beyond the famed Chichicastenango market and gain a deeper understanding of the culture and faith of the locals. Twice a week, thousands of indigenous people from the surrounding Mayan villages dress in traditional attire to visit the market and sell their products but also to celebrate their religious ceremonies based on a combination of Christian and Mayan beliefs. Visit Santo Tomas Church, dating from 1540, whose steps are covered with offerings of flowers, incense and candles. (Even today, Mayan priests are allowed to use this Catholic church for rituals.) Then continue on to the above ground cemetery with its varied and brightly coloured tombs. Also visit Cerro Turcaj just outside town, where, for hundreds of years, Mayans have made offerings at a sacred sacrificial stone to the deity of Pascual Abaj.

    Free Time
    Jaibalito
    Enjoy free time to continue exploring the lake and local Villages. (Breakfast)

  • DAY 5 Jaibalito/Antigua

    Travel back across the lake and transfer to Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the next five days here, enjoy the many parades and ceremonies, not just as a spectator, but as a participant in the celebrations.

    Return to Antigua to explore the city, shop, and of course, to enjoy the Semana Santa (or Holy Week) celebrations.

    When we arrive, Semana Santa will be in full swing, and there will be plenty to see and experience. As home to the world's largest Holy Week celebration, the spectacular Easter festival here is beyond comparison.

    In between observing these ceremonies, you may choose to climb a nearby volcano, mountain bike through the countryside or just relax in a pleasant street side cafe.

    Boat
    Jaibalito - Panajachel 30m
    Climb aboard and get your float on.

    Private Vehicle
    Panajachel - Antigua 3h-4h
    Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride.

    Holy Week Celebrations
    Antigua 3h-6h 1-4km
    Antigua is renowned for its elaborate and colourful festivities during Holy Week. Visitors and locals alike throng to the city to celebrate Semana Santa with processions, religious ceremonies and most memorable, the gorgeous "alfombras" or carpets created from coloured sawdust and flowers. Brilliant purple, green, blue, red, and yellow images and geometric designs are created using sawdust augmented with bougainvillea, chrysanthemums, carnations and pine needles. Generations of families painstakingly craft their "carpets" in the middle of the streets, outside their homes, right before a float or procession passes by. Charge your camera batteries - this is a photographer's dream!

    Optional Activities
    Massage
    Antigua 30m-2h
    30-60USD per person
    Relax and enjoy a Mayan massage. You're on vacation!

    Coffee Tour Antigua
    Travel a short 10-minute ride outside of Antigua to the Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation. Walk through the plant nursery, explore the rows of coffee plants, pick a coffee "cherry" (each one has two beans inside), then discover the various stages that go into making the perfect cup of quality coffee. The farm also has a restaurant and zipline for those who opt to fly above the canopy to spot the very best beans.

    Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day)
    Antigua 5h-6h
    15-70USD per person
    Drive one hour to the base of Pacaya Volcano to begin your ascent. This volcano is still active, so hiking to the crater is off limits. Near the summit, grab a stick and toast marshmallows over a smoking fumarole using earth's natural "ovens" to heat your snack.

    Salsa Lesson
    Antigua
    5-10USD per person
    Kick up your heels and learn this typical Latin dance. Dancers of all skill levels are welcome. Get lost in the rhythm of the music and let your body take you to a new place -- one-two-three, one-two three, hip roll, arm up, partner under, shimmy, shake, salsa! Vamos a bailar! (Let's dance!) (Breakfast)

  • DAY 6 Antigua

    Today, get your bearings and explore Antigua on a guided cultural walking tour with a local expert, including the museums at Paseo de los Museos. Along the way, continue to watch as the city prepares for Easter celebrations.

    This evening, put on your dancing shoes and opt to take an optional Salsa class.

    Antigua Cultural Walking Tour
    Antigua 3h 1-2km
    Meet our guide at the fountain in the Central Plaza and take a leisurely walk along the cobblestone streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour focuses on Antigua's history, culture, and restoration efforts. (A bylaw, for example, stipulates buildings must only be painted certain colours in order to maintain the Spanish colonial character of the exteriors.) Visit the City Hall Palace, Palace of the Captain's General, the main cathedral, and many of Antigua's other attractions. Learn about jade and the valuable role it played in Maya culture. Shop for jewelry, pottery, textiles and wooden carvings.

    Holy Week Celebrations
    Antigua 3h-6h 1-4km
    Antigua is renowned for its elaborate and colourful festivities during Holy Week. Visitors and locals alike throng to the city to celebrate Semana Santa with processions, religious ceremonies and most memorable, the gorgeous "alfombras" or carpets created from coloured sawdust and flowers. Brilliant purple, green, blue, red, and yellow images and geometric designs are created using sawdust augmented with bougainvillea, hrysanthemums, carnations and pine needles. Generations of families painstakingly craft their "carpets" in the middle of the streets, outside their homes, right before a float or procession passes by. Charge your camera batteries - this is a photographer's dream!

    Optional Activities
    Salsa Lesson

    Antigua
    5-10USD per person
    Kick up your heels and learn this typical Latin dance. Dancers of all skill levels are welcome. Get lost in the rhythm of the music and let your body take you to a new place -- one-two-three, one-two three, hip roll, arm up, partner under, shimmy, shake, salsa! Vamos a bailar! (Let's dance!) (Breakfast)

  • DAY 7 Antigua

    Continue to enjoy Holy week celebrations with free time for self-guided discovery.

    On Good Friday, residents begin laying down painstakingly detailed street "carpets" of flowers, pine needles and and dyed sawdust.
    Each design is unique and fleeting, as the carpet disappears as soon as a procession passes through. Join in and help create one of these elaborate carpets.

    Early in the morning, elaborate processions begin, slowly moving the heavy, palm-decorated "Anda" (special float) of Christ along the streets in a sombre re-enactment of his crucifixion. An honour passed down from generation to generation, the men involved in the processions, known as "Cucuruchas," wear purple cloaks (symbolizing mourning) and hold burning incense as they walk. Marvel as they take turns bearing the weight of the solid wood carved platforms, weighing up to 3,630kg (8,000 lb)!

    Holy Week Celebrations
    Antigua 3h-6h 1-4km
    Antigua is renowned for its elaborate and colourful festivities during Holy Week. Visitors and locals alike throng to the city to celebrate Semana Santa with processions, religious ceremonies and most memorable, the gorgeous "alfombras" or carpets created from coloured sawdust and flowers. Brilliant purple, green, blue, red, and yellow images and geometric designs are created using sawdust augmented with bougainvillea, hrysanthemums, carnations and pine needles. Generations of families painstakingly craft their "carpets" in the middle of the streets, outside their homes, right before a float or procession passes by. Charge your camera batteries - this is a photographer's dream!

    Optional Activities
    Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day)

    Antigua 5h-6h
    15-70USD per person
    Drive one hour to the base of Pacaya Volcano to begin your ascent. This volcano is still active, so hiking to the crater is off limits.
    Near the summit, grab a stick and toast marshmallows over a smoking fumarole using earth's natural "ovens" to heat your snack.

    Coffee Tour Antigua
    Travel a short 10-minute ride outside of Antigua to the Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation. Walk through the plant nursery, explore the rows of coffee plants, pick a coffee "cherry" (each one has two beans inside), then discover the various stages that go into making the perfect cup of quality coffee. The farm also has a restaurant and zipline for those who opt to fly above the canopy to spot the very best beans. (Breakfast)

  • DAY 8 Antigua

    Continue to enjoy Holy week celebrations with free time for self-guided discovery.

    On Good Friday, residents begin laying down painstakingly detailed street "carpets" of flowers, pine needles and and dyed sawdust.
    Each design is unique and fleeting, as the carpet disappears as soon as a procession passes through. Join in and help create one of these elaborate carpets.

    Early in the morning, elaborate processions begin, slowly moving the heavy, palm-decorated "Anda" (special float) of Christ along the streets in a sombre re-enactment of his crucifixion. An honour passed down from generation to generation, the men involved in the processions, known as "Cucuruchas," wear purple cloaks (symbolizing mourning) and hold burning incense as they walk. Marvel as they take turns bearing the weight of the solid wood carved platforms, weighing up to 3,630kg (8,000 lb)!

    Holy Week Celebrations
    Antigua 3h-6h 1-4km
    Antigua is renowned for its elaborate and colourful festivities during Holy Week. Visitors and locals alike throng to the city to celebrate Semana Santa with processions, religious ceremonies and most memorable, the gorgeous "alfombras" or carpets created from coloured sawdust and flowers. Brilliant purple, green, blue, red, and yellow images and geometric designs are created using sawdust augmented with bougainvillea, hrysanthemums, carnations and pine needles. Generations of families painstakingly craft their "carpets" in the middle of the streets, outside their homes, right before a float or procession passes by. Charge your camera batteries - this is a photographer's dream!

    Optional Activities
    Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day)

    Antigua 5h-6h
    15-70USD per person
    Drive one hour to the base of Pacaya Volcano to begin your ascent. This volcano is still active, so hiking to the crater is off limits. Near the summit, grab a stick and toast marshmallows over a smoking fumarole using earth's natural "ovens" to heat your snack.

    Coffee Tour Antigua
    Travel a short 10-minute ride outside of Antigua to the Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation. Walk through the plant nursery, explore the rows of coffee plants, pick a coffee "cherry" (each one has two beans inside), then discover the various stages that go into making the perfect cup of quality coffee. The farm also has a restaurant and zipline for those who opt to fly above the canopy to spot the very best beans. (Breakfast)

  • DAY 9 Antigua

    Continue to enjoy Holy week celebrations with free time for self-guided discovery.

    On Good Friday, residents begin laying down painstakingly detailed street "carpets" of flowers, pine needles and and dyed sawdust.
    Each design is unique and fleeting, as the carpet disappears as soon as a procession passes through. Join in and help create one of these elaborate carpets.

    Early in the morning, elaborate processions begin, slowly moving the heavy, palm-decorated "Anda" (special float) of Christ along the streets in a sombre re-enactment of his crucifixion. An honour passed down from generation to generation, the men involved in the processions, known as "Cucuruchas," wear purple cloaks (symbolizing mourning) and hold burning incense as they walk. Marvel as they take turns bearing the weight of the solid wood carved platforms, weighing up to 3,630kg (8,000 lb)!

    Holy Week Celebrations
    Antigua 3h-6h 1-4km
    Antigua is renowned for its elaborate and colourful festivities during Holy Week. Visitors and locals alike throng to the city to celebrate Semana Santa with processions, religious ceremonies and most memorable, the gorgeous "alfombras" or carpets created from coloured sawdust and flowers. Brilliant purple, green, blue, red, and yellow images and geometric designs are created using sawdust augmented with bougainvillea, hrysanthemums, carnations and pine needles. Generations of families painstakingly craft their "carpets" in the middle of the streets, outside their homes, right before a float or procession passes by. Charge your camera batteries - this is a photographer's dream!

    Optional Activities
    Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day)

    Antigua 5h-6h
    15-70USD per person
    Drive one hour to the base of Pacaya Volcano to begin your ascent. This volcano is still active, so hiking to the crater is off limits.
    Near the summit, grab a stick and toast marshmallows over a smoking fumarole using earth's natural "ovens" to heat your snack.

    Coffee Tour Antigua
    Travel a short 10-minute ride outside of Antigua to the Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation. Walk through the plant nursery, explore the rows of coffee plants, pick a coffee "cherry" (each one has two beans inside), then discover the various stages that go into making the perfect cup of quality coffee. The farm also has a restaurant and zipline for those who opt to fly above the canopy to spot the very best beans. (Breakfast)

  • DAY 10 Depart Antigua

    Depart any time today.

    Departure Day
    Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure. (Breakfast)

  • Meal basis

    As per itinerary - B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals

  • TRIP DETAILS

    If you have booked this trip or are curious about all of the details, you can download this trip's information as a PDF.

    Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

  1. We recommend you to have a meal budget of USD 360-470 for food and drinks which are not included in the programme.

  2. This programme is operated on a Coach tour. Maximum Group size is 15 passengers, at an average there are 10 passengers travelling on this tour.

  3. Itinerary descriptions are guaranteed with the exception of unforeseen conditions which include, but are not limited to, road closures due to weather, acts of God, safety concerns, changes to highway legal restrictions, and acts by third parties beyond the control of Service Provider.

  4. There is no refund for any non-utilization of any services.

  5. All holiday prices are subject to Govt. Service Tax of 5% payable to Govt of India.

  6. At this point of time no services are confirmed and the same is subject to availability.

  7. Request for an early hotel check in or late checkout is at the discretion of the accommodation unless pre-booked and pre-paid in advance.

  8. All payment to be made strictly by cheque / Demand Draft / Direct bank transfer in favour of 'COX AND KINGS LIMITED'.

  9. AIRPORT: Antigua's nearest airport is approximately one hour away in Guatemala City.


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